Mennonites helping tornado victims - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Caruthersville, MO

Mennonites helping tornado victims

Mennonites helping tornado victims
By: CJ Cassidy

Caruthersville, MO - More than two months after a twister devastated much of Caruthersville, many victims still don't have a real place to call home.

More than 600 homes were destroyed by the tornado April 2nd, and hundreds of volunteers have crowded the town since, trying to help bring back some order.

Now one group who's set up shop temporarily in town says their mission is to help people re-build their lives.

They're a Mennonite-Amish group that travels across the country trying to help victims of disasters.

Volunteers come from several different states, and say they use skills they've learned in their communities to help folks in Caruthersville.

Brent Zimmerman and his brothers swapped out one tough job on their father's farm in Michigan, for another one in a Caruthersville neighborhood.

"We have hogs. I help feed them every morning, and we work in the fields during the summer," Zimmerman says.

This summer however, the Zimmermans and dozens of others like them are helping re-build stranger's homes in areas devastated by the twister.

"I was just putting this floor in, and then we're going to put in linoleum. We're also helping drywall the ceiling," Zimmerman explains.

Carpentry comes easy to this crew. They're a group of Mennonites and Amish folk working side by side to help victims of disasters.

"It's been a great experience, and it just fills my heart to see how people are really here ready to receive us, and we're really glad to help them," Elam Fisher with the Christian Aid Ministries says.

Storm victims like Martha Driver couldn't afford to pay the higher fees contractors quoted..

That's when she heard about the Christian Aid Ministries.

Turns out, she was exactly the kind of victim volunteers wanted to help; someone who didn't really have a lot of options.

"They just come up with it so fast. I mean it's amazing it's just amazing. It's so wonderful!" she says.

Driver expects to move into her home in about two weeks, and she couldn't be happier.

The volunteers plan on staying in Caruthersville through December.

They say they depend on donations to help people, but they also rely on victims to pay for the supplies.

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